Terrible news from Afghanistan as it is reported that three British soldiers from the Gurkha regiment have been killed in what is being described as a “premeditated” attack by a member of the Afghan National Army.
In a statement the MoD spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Lieutenant Colonel James Carr-Smith, said: “It is with deep sorrow I must inform you that three soldiers from the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles Battle Group were killed this morning in southern Nahr-e Saraj, Helmand Province. We believe these were the actions of a lone individual who has betrayed his ISAF and Afghan comrades. His whereabouts are currently unknown but we are making strenuous efforts to find him. He should know that his actions will not deter us from our task and we will continue to work closely with our Afghan friends to bring security to Helmand.
“Three courageous and dedicated soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice. They will be greatly missed and their actions will not be forgotten. We will remember them.”
David Cameron’s plan to get British out before the next general election is based on the ANA and the Afghan police force being able to takeover security currently handled by the 146,000 plus coalition troops in the country.
With this the second incident involving British troops being killed by Afghans they are mentoring that strategy is called starkly into question. In November Five British soldiers were shot dead in an attack blamed on a “rogue” Afghan policeman.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Nato secretary-general, said that Cameron’s desire for a five-year timetable for withdrawing British troops risks encouraging the Taliban to step up their attacks on Western forces.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph before this new broke Rasmussen, said: “The Taliban follow the political debate in troop-contributing countries closely. They do believe that if we set artificial timetables for our withdrawal, they can just sit down and wait us out and they will return when we have left. If they discover that through their attacks, they can weaken the support for our presence in Afghanistan, they will just be encouraged to step up their attacks on foreign troops.”
With the success of this attack, and the headlines it is grabbing, it seems inevitable that the Taliban will try this again exacting a heavy price for a stable Afghanistan. With other nations including the Dutch already preparing to exit, Britain can not leave early although the political temptation to do so as lossses rise, they passed 300 on June 21, will only increase.